Mountains and Plateaus• The most noticeable terrain feature of the subcontinent is the Himalayan Mountains.
• That’s one reason it’s sometimes called the subcontinent, because it’s like a continent in itself. • When India hits Asia, the Indian plate subducts beneath the Eurasian plate, but the crust is forced upwards, producing the Himalayas, the world’s tallest mountain chain. • In fact, the Himalayas are still growing at about 5 mm per year because the Indian plate is pushing in at about 67 mm per year. HimilayasIndian Plate
• The Himalayas, of course, are where Mt. Everest is. It’s 29,035 feet high – that’s 5.5 miles.
• Hindu Kush Mountains • Along the western end of the Himalayas. Provide a barrier between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Former Taliban andOsama bin Laden usedthe Hindu Kushmountains as hidingplaces.
• Khyber Pass is here which is a traditional route of invasion for everybody from Alexander the Great to the British.• At its narrowest, it’s just 15 yards wide.
Khyber Pass, looking from Afghanistan to Pakistan
• The rivers carry a great deal of alluvial soil (silt) that gets deposited on the alluvial plains and makes for an exceptionally fertile area. • These plains support a massive population. Most of India’s 1 billion people live around here.
Population DensityUnited States 281,422,000 people 1,002,142,000 people 3,787,319 square miles 1,195,063 square miles 74.3 ppl/ sq mile 839 ppl/ sq mile
Offshore Islands• Sri Lanka • Quite tropical, with a mountain chain in the center and rivers flowing from them. • Sri Lanka is its own country and not part of India.
• The Maldives • A collection of 1,200 islands that make up an archipelago (a collection of islands). • The islands are actually the tops of volcanoes surrounded by coral to make up smaller atolls. • They’re short too. The highest point of the island country is 7.5 feet above sea level. • The total land area is only 115 square miles, but has 400 miles of coastline. • Of the 1,200 islands, only about 200 are inhabited.
• A better look at the atolls (low-lying tops of submerged volcanoes, surrounded by coral reefs and shallow lagoons).
Natural Resources• There’s a lot that’s dependent on water and soil. • Those rivers and their soil provide for a lot of irrigation and rich farmland. • That makes for a lot of agriculture as well as river- based products like fish in addition to sea fishing. • The navigable rivers and the coastlines are good for transportation.
• Forests • The timber industry is big. • Rain forests produce teak, bamboo, and sandalwood. • Highland forests produce pine, fir, and others. • Deforestation is a big problem, however.
Chapter 24, sec. 1 questions1. Name the largest country in South Asia.2. What is a subcontinent?3. How many people live in India?4. Name the mountain range that serves as the border between the Indian subcontinent and China.5. Name the mountains that lie at the west end of the Himalayas.6. What is an archipelago?7. What is an atoll?